Mazda and Fiat have announced that they're partnering to make a rear-wheel drive sports car together, one badged Mazda, the other Alfa Romeo. This car manufacturer love-in thing is catching on.

By that we're referring, of course, to the Toyota-Subaru tie-up that spawned the GT86/BRZ, widely regarded as an awesome piece of work. That said, the VW-Suzuki partnership...not so much.

The Toyota-Subaru project was for a long while called 'Toyobaru', so let's portmanteau this shizzle up...

The Mazdalf (yep, that works) will use the next-generation MX-5's rear-wheel drive platform, but both cars will be distinctively styled and use different power plants, with each company providing "specific proprietary engines unique to each brand."

Both cars will be built at Mazda's Hiroshima plant, according to a Mazda statement, which says that Alfa production is "envisaged" for 2015.

The agreement is tentative at the moment, expected to be finalised at the end of this year. Here's what both parties have to say:

Establishing technology and product development alliances is one of Mazda's corporate
objectives and this announcement with Fiat is an important first step in that direction. It is
especially exciting to be collaborating with such a prestigious marque as Alfa Romeo on a
new roadster based on the next-generation MX-5, which is such an iconic vehicle for Mazda
and recognized as the best-selling roadster of all time.


Takashi Yamanouchi, Mazda President and CEO.

This agreement clearly demonstrates our commitment to Alfa Romeo and the
determination to grow it into a truly global brand. By partnering with Mazda, we will be
co-operating with the recognized leader in compact rear-drive vehicle architectures in order
to deliver an exciting and stylish roadster in the Alfa Romeo tradition. We are appreciative of
this collaboration with Mazda and look forward to maintaining a fruitful and continuous
relationship.


Sergio Marchionne, Fiat CEO

So, obvious thing to ask and that, does this mean we're going to get the best of all worlds - Alfa style and desirability with Mazda reliability and the MX-5's famed dynamic prowess?

One word: Arna.